Research Tips and Tricks
Top 10 Research Tips
1. How can I tell if my article is scholarly or peer reviewed? answer
2. How do I find an article on my topic? answer
3. How do I find a book on my topic? answer
4. Where can I find the specific article database I need? answer
5. How can I find a video/DVD? answer
6. How do I cite sources in my paper? answer
7. How do I get the materials my instructor put on Reserve? answer
8. Can I get a book that's not available on campus? answer
9. How do I get help writing my paper? answer
10. Where can I get individualized research help from a librarian? answer
This guide is an introduction to selected resources available for historical research. It covers both primary sources (such as diaries, letters, newspaper articles, photographs, government documents and first hand accounts) and secondary materials (such as books and articles written by historians and devoted to the analysis and interpretation of historical events and evidence).
"Research in history involves developing an understanding of the past through the examination and interpretation of evidence. Evidence may exist in the form of texts, physical remains of historic sites, recorded data, pictures, maps, artifacts, and so on. The historian’s job is to find evidence, analyze its content and biases, corroborate it with further evidence, and use that evidence to develop an interpretation of past events that holds some significance for the present.
Historians use libraries to
- locate primary sources (firsthand information such as diaries, letters, and original documents) for evidence
- find secondary sources (historians’ interpretations and analyses of historical evidence)
- verify factual material as inconsistencies arise"
(Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age, Fifth Edition, by Diana Hacker and Barbara Fister, Bedford/St. Martin, 2010)
This guide is meant to help you work through these steps.
Other helpful guides
This is a list of other historical research guides you may find helpful:
279 Memorial Library
There are librarians on campus that can help you with your specific area of research.
Subject Librarian Directory
Subject-specialist/ liaison librarians are willing to help you with anything from creating research strategies to locating sources.